Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale
Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Winter Solstice Seasonal AleWinter Solstice Seasonal Ale
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Winter Warmer
Ranked #17
Ranked #15,676
3.9 | pDev: 13.59%
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
California, United States
Very Good
Winter Solstice Seasonal AleWinter Solstice Seasonal Ale
Notes: Winter Solstice® is our take on the classic style of “winter warmer.” Boasting a deep amber hue and rich mouthfeel, its creamy finish will lift your spirits. Hints of toffee, spice, and caramel tease the senses making this the perfect ale to share with friends and family during the cold days and long nights of winter.
Reviews: 757 | Ratings: 1,893 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Sigmund from Norway

3.43/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

355 ml bottle, Cardinal Pub & Bar, Stavanger. ABV is 6.9%. Brown colour, large off-white head. Nice aroma of malts (including some caramel) and mild spices, including cinnamon. Also some fruity notes (blackcurrants and ripe blackberries). None of the aroma elements are overdone. The flavour is first fruity (hints of blackcurrants and blackberries again) and malty with some caramel, but not too sweet. The Christmas spices come through more distinctly, but not sharp. The bittering hops are very moderate (too moderate for my taste), probably making the beer palatable for people who don’t fancy AVBC’s hoppier beers. Easy drinking, and does not taste as strong as it is.

May 03, 2021
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HipCzech from Texas

3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving: 12 oz can poured into a 9 oz Libbey Embassy snifter.

Appearance: Deep, clear, medium amber with a proud head of off white bubbles and full, intricate.

Smell: Vanilla, burnt sugar and toasted bread.

Taste: Roasted marshmallows, caramel and winter spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, clove) round out a toasted malt body.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, rich feel and moderate carbonation.

Overall: A rich and malty ale with burnt sugar and roasted malt notes that hint of s’mores.

Dec 25, 2020
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stevoj from Idaho

3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz can from Boise Coop. Well out of season but this is one I've been looking for. Light amber pour, medium foamy head. Toasty caramel aroma with a hint of chai spice. Taste is more caramel, some light leathery and tobacco notes, and finishes with a bit of dryness. Not overly "winter-y", just a solid malty brew.

Jun 06, 2020
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janubio from Spain

4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle at Las Buenas Pulgas, served in an Anderson Valley glass.
Pours amber-reddish colour, medium head and retention, creamy lacing.
Aroma of caramel, berries, figs, dried fruits.
Medium body, creamy texture, good carbonation. Sweet finish.
Taste of caramel, dried fruits, malts, berries, dates, figs.
Very good. ,

Jan 29, 2020
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jmc65267 from Georgia

3.48/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

It was fine. I think I went in with too high of expectations. I got it in a mix and match six pack and it is still a good selection but I wouldn’t get it on purpose.

Jan 18, 2020
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LifesAnesthesia from Virginia

4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L - Amber with a slight amount of clarity with a creamy light tan head that sticks around leaving behind some lacing.
S - Tons of winter spices - nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves as well as caramel and toffee.
T - Follows the nose with a solid amount of winter spices - nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom along with caramel, toffee, toasted malt, vanilla.
F - Medium bodied with a light to moderate amount of carbonation - somewhat watery on the very back end
O - A really nice winter warmer -

Jan 12, 2020
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JayDubTrub from California

4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Really enjoyed this (2019). The aroma is the highlight - Carmel, vanilla, spice, toffee and enough alcohol for backbone. If you want to taste all the flavors in a barley wine often buried by booze, enjoy this lower abv by Avbc.

Dec 19, 2019
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HorseheadsHophead from New York

4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear amber appearance, with a small beige head. Good retention and lacing.

The smell is sweet malt and subtle spices. Brown sugar, vanilla, brown bread, cola, maybe some ginger?

Nice sweet brown bread malt, molasses, vanilla, ginger, and cardamom. Clean, slightly spicy and piney, with a brown sugar lingering sweetness.

Medium mouthfeel, moderately carbonated, clean but slightly sticky with lingering residual sweetness.

A nice Winter Warmer. Rich and bready--lightly spiced--but very drinkable.

Dec 08, 2019
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EnderFett11 from Virginia

4.24/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a can into a pilsner glass, resulting in a ton of frothy off-white head that took a few minutes to fade. Color is a deep amber, slightly hazy. Smell is caramel with a bit of vanilla. Taste is caramel first with a bit of vanilla, followed by a spice at the end, maybe cinnamon/nutmeg. Medium bodied with light carbonation. Excellent winter ale.

Nov 28, 2019
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Ruger_44-Redhawk from Idaho

4.71/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This has always been a favorite of mine along with it’s Summer Solstice brother. What can I say, a great winter ale. Drinking in Florida on Thanksgiving week. But been drinking this for years. Taste is vanilla and spice awesomeness all the way. Always get this if you see it!

Nov 28, 2019
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stortore from Illinois

3.56/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce can into a tulip snifter. Had 6/8/18.

Pours a mostly clear medium amber, with a half inch foamy head and some foamy lacing. Aromas of malt, figs, dates, toffee, caramel, light cherries, some spices. The taste is similar to the nose- malt, caramel, dates, light cherries and plums, some spices. A light bitterness on the finish. Mostly smooth, a decent medium body, well carbonated.

This is okay, but kind of bland. Pretty good aroma, but nothing stands out, nothing to hang your hat on.

Feb 12, 2019
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donspublic from Texas

4.11/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from can into tulip, massive 3 finger tan head, recedes slowly, good retention and great lacing. Rubyish amber in the glass, looks like a big old barley wine, somewhat clear, not crystal, light passes thru. Toffee and caramel on the nose with a touch of spice, straight up like the description. Taste follows the nose big malty toffee, caramel and vanilla on the front with a tinge of spice on the finish. Rich and creamy yet lacking the heaviness that comes with most of these. Drinkability is high.

Jan 24, 2019
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rudiecantfail from Pennsylvania

3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle poured into a tulip glass.

L---Clear, dark amber color. Nice, fluffy, off-white head with good retention and excellent lacing.

S---Sweet, malty & spices are upfront. Cinnamon & nutmeg.

T---Stronger spices than in the nose. Cinnamon & nutmeg are obvious. Very sweet & malty. Vanilla, caramel & toffee combine to make up the sweetness. Tastes like a winter warmer, which is their aim.

F---A bit cloying from the sweetness. Creamy. Medium feel with ok carbonation.

O---Not the best winter warmer I've had this year. Good enough, but not one I'll get again.

Jan 13, 2019
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josanguapo from Spain

4.52/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

De Labireatorium. En copa Teku. En almuerzo, con papas fritas con huevos fritos + san jacobo. Marcado especiado navideño con delicioso fondo de malta acaramelada y relativamente bajo abv. Descubro asi mi preferido perfil navideño!

Dec 31, 2018
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Lingenbrau from Oregon

3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Burnt orange meets brick red. Lighlty tanned head with minimal retention.

Smells and tastes like cream soda mixed with an amber ale.

Smooth and lightly creamy. Easy to drink and on the sweet side.

A decent beer that used to be a very welcomed annual choice. A bit too sweet for my liking now.


Dec 30, 2018
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Nass from Florida

3.59/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 4

There is no canned on date. The pour is brown. On the taste I get some malts, some vanilla & I agree with the toffee & caramel which was previously mentioned on this page. This beer was okay but a little too sweet for my liking. Cheers! B

Dec 16, 2018
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Fatheroftoomany from Pennsylvania

3.89/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Good deep color with thick head. Smooth taste that leaves as cleanly as water. Has that strong toffee taste that I didn’t think I would like but is definitely welcomed.

Dec 15, 2018
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monkist from Hungary

4.43/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This might have easily been the first Winter Warmer I had - or at least, even if I had one, I didn't remember it. But this one I will for sure.
This one tastes amazing, with perfectly well balanced vanilla and bourbon, something like a kind of a cake or sweets or confectionery but without the sticky sweetness - could it even be semi dry? Therefore it is very well balanced: it feels sweet and playful but it doesn't overwhelm you with its sugars, just the sweetness in its taste. Just the sweet feeling.
A really good and unique Winter Warmer, it warms you up by making you feel good.

Oct 17, 2018
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FastEddy23 from Florida

4.6/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very drinkable, enjoyable, smooth ,and satisfying brew! Got it in the can at Total Wine & More in St Pete, FL, Park St.N., on May 14, 2018, for $5.99.! Niiiiice! I actually drank this beer 8 or 10 years ago in the bottle and was not impressed back then. I taste some toffee and butterscotch with a nice semi-dry finish. It's a very drinkable, enjoyable, easy-drinking beer. For $5.99, this beer could not be beat when looking at getting the most bang for your buck!!!! I enjoyed drinking it out of a cold can! I love my winter warmers!!! Who's selling SnowCap??!?!?

May 15, 2018
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penguinsgoboom from California

3.84/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours with half-finger head that quickly dissipates. Maple syrup in color.

S: Apple, vanilla, caramel, and toffee. Not very strong.

F: Medium mouthfeel. Slightly sticky syrupy.

T: Vanilla, caramel, toffee, and nutty malts with just barely enough hops.

O: Overall, nice beer for a cold day. Very drinkable, hides the alcohol well, but also quite forgettable.

May 13, 2018
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BendBoozer from Colorado

1.59/5  rDev -59.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Natural flavors added!? That's all that needs to be said about this beer. It looks flat and tastes like cream soda. I was excited when I saw a winter ale, but this is pure sugar. I may not be able to finish six pack...

Feb 03, 2018
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KingTen144 from Illinois

4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Reddish-amber color with disappointingly very little head. Smells of honey. Very tasty. Not much of that "winter spice" flavor, just a little bit, and in my opinion just the right amount. Honey is the dominant flavor for me, but there is a hint of caramel there too. Slight hoppy aftertaste to go along with the honey.

Jan 16, 2018
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3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Eye: light copper, slighty tan head with lacing and a head the dissapears very quickly.
Nose: brown malts, faint spice.
Tongue: sweet slightly roasted malts, faint spice, bit of a bitter hop at the end.
Mouth: light, but with substance to it. It is smooth, but not ultra-smooth because of the spices and hop presence.
Overall: If you were to take a Yeungling and take away the skunky aftertaste, put in a slight bit of Christmas spice flavors and give it some more alchohol(that doesn't taste like you added much more) than you would have Winter Solstice. It has that Octoberfest beer feel, but it is a bit better than most of those kinds of beer. I liked it, but it is still not my kind of beer. I got it from a friend for my birthday in a six pack. That's a true friend right? Here you go Craig, here's a 6 pack of beer!

Nov 26, 2017
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CDTDubstep from Georgia

5/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Underrated. Nice warming brew without all the heaviness of some others. Amazing deep rich flavor of roasted nuts, toffee, and subtle spice without being a malt bomb. Very drinkable. Simple and amazing I am really liking this brewery as of late.

Nov 24, 2017
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JerzDevl2000 from New Jersey

4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this beer in my stash for a while as I traded for it quite a few months ago. It's not often that I have seasonals anymore as I tend to think that most are quite gimmicky but this one was pleasantly enjoyable and a nice surprise that stood out to me. The fact that this put a smile on my face months after the season that this was intended for was proof of how nicely this was crafted and the timeless nature of it. It's not often that I can enjoy a winter beer in the middle of the summer heat!

Nice pour to this as the mahogany hue and tan head were reminiscent of an Octoberfest or a seasonally-appropriate Marzen beer. The foam settled a bit faster than I would have liked but lingered in the form of thin but copious amounts of rings around the side of my pint glass. The liquid was on par with the lacing as the caramel and apple shone through in the nose and never backed down. Very little spice that would be present in a Winter Warmer was present here as this felt more like a Brown Ale with a copious amount of caramel and nut thrown in food good measure. Apple, pear, hazelnut, and almond were all here to go with caramel malt and some light toffee, topped off with some cream to give this sweetness. This wasn't strong either, when it came to the amount of booze, body, or carbonation as the flavors were allowed to linger long after the liquid went down.

While not a session beer, it would be incredibly easy to have another one of these after finishing off an initial bottle. It's not often that something comes along that surprises me and given that most of what I drink is now out of cans, it takes a lot for a bottle to leave this kind of impression on me. This did it and next year, I'll be reaching for one of these, and you should too! It's great for the winter solstice but nicely crafted for the rest of the year, with plenty to enjoy for any level of imbiber. Nice job all-around!

Jul 26, 2017
Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 1893 ratings